Are All Ancient Customs A Myth?
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India is a country that prevails from one of the oldest known civilizations in the world. People here follow different customs and rituals which are running in their family for generations. In the early childhood days we don’t question any of the rituals or customs. But as we grow old, we begin to raise question on their existence. Some people now think these customs as myths. But some of them have a scientific logic behind to prove their necessity.

Indian customs and traditions are infinite to describe. But still at Gizmodo, we have tried to share some knowledge about the scientific reasoning behind the age old rituals:

1. Namaste – joining both hands together to greet others:
In Hindu culture, you must be following this practice of greeting others by joining both hands together and say ‘Namaskar’. You may be doing it in a way to respect others.

Scientific reason: While greeting others, we join both the hands together. By joining both the hands, we also join the tips of all the fingers. Our finger tips are denoted as the pressure points for eyes, ears and mind. Pressing them together is said to activate the pressure points. This helps us to remember the person for a long time.

2. Applying ‘Tilak’ on the forehead:
Tilak is a ritual mark on the forehead. It can be put in many forms as a sign of blessing, greeting or auspiciousness. People apply it at the center of the forehead, the place between the two eyebrows. People use vermilion, sandalwood or turmeric powder to put ‘Tilak’.

Scientific reason: ‘Tilak’ is applied at the spot between the two eyebrows, which is considered to be the place of latent wisdom and mental concentration. This center point is said to have a nerve connection with the brain. And, putting ‘Tilak’ on the spot regularly stimulate it and helps us improving the mental concentration. Also, cooling property of sandalwood keeps it cool. Turmeric is said to have wonderful antiseptic.

3. Toran – tying mango and neem leaves to the doors :
Decorating the main door with mango and neem leaves is a part of Indian culture. It is generally practiced during the festival season. Elders have told us ‘Toran’ does not allow evil power to enter the house.

Scientific reason: Most of us know that the green leaves absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, this process is known as photosynthesis. Photosynthesis helps in circulation of oxygen and in turn keeps the room temperature at an optimum level. Mango and neem leaves are very effective in the photosynthesis process comparative to other plants. Neem leaves purify the bacteria too. Therefore, we tie ‘Toran’ at the entrance of every door.

4. Applying turmeric paste on the body:
Many of us have seen women in house applying turmeric paste on their body before going for auspicious occasion. Even in Hindu marriages, it’s a custom to apply turmeric to the bride and groom.

Scientific reason: We all know that turmeric is a wonderful antiseptic. It prevents the skin from bacterial or fungal infection like pimples and rashes. Moreover, it exfoliates the skin making it smooth and luminous. Therefore, people apply it on their skin on a regular basis.

5. Eating ‘Dahi shakkar’:
It is an ancient custom still prevalent in India to have curds with sugar before setting out for some important work such as exams / interviews / business meetings, etc. Often the reason given is that it is auspicious.

Scientific reason: Curd is a coolant and a good digestive agent. It prevents of heartburn and gas formation. Sugar is an instant energizer. One needs to be cool, collected and energized when setting out to accomplish an important task. Hence, your elders give you a spoonful of ‘Dahi shakkar’ before stepping out of the house.